We can talk about how good your culinary skills are and what qualifications you hold from which fine institutions. But without the utensils, you will not be able to cook
By Munyaradzi Chiondegwa
Incompetence should be a reason for one to be removed from their job. If one is inept, we do not make policies to cover up for that ineptness or for their ineptitudeness, we are supposed to have either on the job training or send such individuals for refresher courses.
Continuous policy changes and instruments do not augur well for a country trying to survive the rigours of sanctions while trying to present itself as a reformes nation and open for business.
This last Friday, the Government released a press statement closely followed by the Reserve Bank one refining the ban on mobile money transactions.
The RBZ one specified who or which service had actually been banned. The reasons that were presented for the action are shocking if they are to be believed.
So shocking and so out of this world that one wonders how it is possible that such actions habe happened under the watch of not only the RBZ and its Financial Intelligence Unit but under the watch of all the security and policing agencies we have in this country.
Slipped under the radar
How a claim that there are lines that are not auditable got into a Government presser is not something i want to even think about. It behoves and boggles the mind that we can have balances in mobile money lines that are perhaps equal to three qauarters the domestic debt. It can only be defined as outlandish.
With all our intelligence services and I do not speak lightly of this, if no one including our academics can explain how the rate is manipulated using mobile money lines then I do not even want to think what has slipped under the radar.
But to be honest, its unbelievable and dishonest. It is devoid of any factual proofs. It is impossible to say there are untraceable transactions. Any first year computer science or Information Technology student will tell you all mobile transactions have a digital footprint.
Just subpoena the data on transactions and catch people easily! We can have all and everybody involved unless of course there is something we are hiding.
I honestly think we are making laws to cover up ineptitudeness of our people in the systems. If they failed to detect the claims made in the Government presser or allowed it to go on for this long, they do not deserve to be there.
Some home truths
We clearly no longer have aptitude for academic finesse. Its trial by error and blunders, then the gentlemen at RBZ and at Ministry of Finance and Economic Development do not know what is wrong with Zimbabwe and so cannot fix it. They are focusing in the wrong end of the stick.
Trying to cure a headache instead of focusing in what is the cause of the headache.
The mistake we are making is taking Zimbabwe as a functional economy. Truth is we are like Democratic Republic of Congo, too many resources but no formal economic operations and worse, we are at war ( yes, sanctions are a means of warfare).
You cannot just formalise DRC economy via monetary policy which is motivated by exchange rates. Similarly we can not formalize our Economy via monetary or fiscal policy. We need to admit a few home truths to ourselves.
Death of the economy
Zimbabwe’s formal economy is dead. The banking sector is also non functional. Those are the two crucial sectors in a formal economy.
It means (i) the government has no tax base and (ii) there is no longer a platform to execute monetary policy ie the banking sector.
How did this happen? We used to have 350 000 people employed in the agriculture sector. Add another 300 000 in industries. I would say that’s close to a million people paying taxes and buying local.
That is 1 million people who buy Tanganda, Cashel Valley, Dairy Zimbabwe Limited, Bata products, etc. I’m sure it is sinking in now. This used to push or mantain local production and thus boost local economy.
Imports were simply to make up the difference not filled up by the local production.
As long as that 1million+ is not brought back, it means we have no local demand to support local industries and sustain capital products and social services like the servicing of roads, hospitals and schools.
Slipped under the radar
Now onto the other part. When RBZ announces monetary policy, it needs the banking sector to execute it. Without that it is like someone very skilled in cooking but has no cooking utensils and no fire to use for heating the food. You want to cook but you have no pots.
We can talk about how good your culinary skills are and what qualifications you hold from which fine institutions but without the utensils, you will not be able to cook!
What RBZ is failing to see is that there are no utensils to cook the ingredients that they have brought into the kitchen. Our banking system is non-functional. Banks are not making money from their core-functions that is of loaning out money. There are also no people depositing and withdrawing money.
There is absolutely no confidence in our banking system that would enable them to actually operate as banks should.
A bank is supposed to be able to multiply by a factor of maybe 5 to 10x a dollar in its hands. So if RBZ increase interest rates by 1% or provide incentives its amplified by what banks can do via that multiplier effect.
So say when government puts US$100m into small scale businesses, banks have leverage to increase that such that the effect is felt felt across the whole economy. If banks are not there in the middle, US$49million of the released US$100million is what will reach the the businesses while the rest will be stolen somewhere along the line.
Our economy was over 50% Agriculture but that’s down to almost 5% now. Anyone who wants to tell us they are fixing the economy while ignoring agriculture are playing with us. Basically they are lying. We have been given space to fix that sector but we let it go and forgot about it.
We got scared by Tendai Biti talking of corruption in Command Agriculture. Those were just MDC diversionary tactics after realizing that Command Agriculture was winning – not only the war on Economic sabotage – but also winning the ruling party Zanu PF votes.
Unfortunately due to our kneejerk reaction we recoiled from it and no longer pam heed to it. We do not even give any coverage on it anymore. There is simply no feedback from it.
Why does Ministry of Finance, RBZ, Government and even the Ruling Party not have not have an Agricultural Policy to follow?
It is time to wake up and fix the country. Let us remember, it is not about the colour of the cat, but its ability to catch the mice that matters.
Chiondegwa is a freelance writer. He writes for Zimbabwe Digital News in his personal capacity.
See News Differently
Facebook: Zimbabwe Digital News
Zimbabwe Digital News